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Legislators Consider Separate Ag Disaster Aid Bill

Appropriations Committee chair thinks a separate farm disaster aid bill would succeed.

With the Democrats in Congress considering options for a new war spending bill, one option being mentioned is to separate the more than $4 billion in farm disaster aid and other spending, which was attached to the war spending measure despite the administration's calls for a "clean bill."

Appropriations Committee chair Rep. David Obey, D-Wisc., thinks that a separate farm disaster aid bill would be difficult to veto and would draw support from both sides of the aisle, and he says he is working on just such a measure.

"I think it is going to be very hard for the president to explain why he has declared counties disaster areas and why he doesn't support legislative action to keep those farmers from being driven off the farm and out of business" if he vetoes a farm disaster aid bill, Obey says.

Although some House Agriculture Committee members say that farm disaster aid may not get out of Congress without being attached to the war funding bill, Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., pointed out that it would allow Republicans in rural areas to vote for a measure that could benefit many of their constituents.

Majority leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., expects the House to vote on the war spending bill Thursday and farm disaster aid on Friday.

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